ECHOcommunity Conversations

Emergency gardens in a quarantine world

Hello Edward,

Your tips are very relevant to some conversations I am having with an org that partners with refugees in Iraq and Syria. In Bangladesh refugee camps, how do individuals access water during the dry season? What are they doing to maintain their production and conserve water resources? If they are paying for water, about how much are they willing to pay for water that goes into their garden? If using gray water, what sources are they receiving it from? What chemicals might be in the gray water due to soaps used, and how does that impact the plants?

Thank you for the help!

I need to know more about your situation and what you would like to do.

I was talking about lining polywoven bags or feed bags or any other large bag that breaths with plastic so that the flow of air does not dry it out quickly.

There are lots of things you can do with plastic bottles related to gardening and I looked back through my conversation to try to find that which you are referencing and not sure. I use plastic bottles mostly as planting containers after cutting off the top and bottom and then when extracting the plant or tree I cut it open so the roots are damaged less. Otherwise the ribs make it difficult to push it through.

Dan Janzen South Sudan # +211925635255

+211916292312 (message phone when can not reach # above)
16162042268 (WhatsApp & permanent voice mail phone # for when I am overseas)

The refugee camp in Bangladesh is in a tropical climate so water is hardly ever an issue. We do work, however, in non-refugee situations in arid areas. The most important thing to teach is to keep the soil covered at all times. This will expend your growing season and effectively shorten the dry season. We recently had a situation in Haiti where there were no rains for over two months after the beans were planted and they still harvested a crop. The neighboring fields were uncovered and bare and their bean seeds didn’t produce plants.


Thank you, Edward! Mulching is so crucial and finding creative solutions for mulch that are not are typical ideas. Have you seen some creative mulch alternatives in Bangladesh?

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Thank you, Dan. I will have to try a side-by-side of the poly woven bags with plastic lining and one without to observe this difference. That could be a simple solution to some evaporation challenges.
Thank you for the ideas!


In the area in southern Bangladesh where we are located it’s semi-tropical so finding material seems to be no problem.

Leaf crops can be quick and provide excellent nutrition.
Free pdf downloads in English, French, and Spanish at bottom of page.

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Yes much of the amaranth family originated there and is super nutritious grain and leaves and requires Little inputs.

Yes urine is awesome. Nutritional Needs are very important to consider. Moringa may not be highly calorie dense ( but you can make a high quality oil from the seeds) but it has an amazing range of nutrients including those very important for growing children such as iron vitamin a vitamin C , calcium and high-protein for a leaf vegetable. In fact in some countries the dried leaf matter is being researched as a substitute for
Malnutrition treatment powders In Africa.